Match Report

Djokovic Downs Shapovalov, Sets Medvedev Showdown In Adelaide

Serbian is chasing 92nd tour-level title
January 06, 2023
Novak Djokovic saves three of four break points he faces en route to victory against Denis Shapovalov on Friday in Adelaide.
Brenton Edwards/AFP via Getty Images
Novak Djokovic saves three of four break points he faces en route to victory against Denis Shapovalov on Friday in Adelaide. By ATP Staff

Novak Djokovic came through some staunch resistance from Denis Shapovalov on Friday at the Adelaide International 1, where the top-seeded Serbian pulled away to a 6-3, 6-4 quarter-final victory at the ATP 250 event.

An entertaining one-hour, 55-minute matchup provided rich entertainment for a vocal Adelaide crowd, which was treated to some ferocious baseline exchanges as Shapovalov went toe-to-toe with the 91-time tour-level titlist Djokovic. The Serbian was more clinical at key moments, however, and three breaks of serve across the two sets were enough for him to complete his 21st victory in his past 22 tour-level matches and set a blockbuster semi-final clash with third seed Daniil Medvedev in South Australia.

“I actually think that the scoreline maybe doesn't speak enough today about the matchup,” said Djokovic in his post-match press conference. “It was very close. One break of serve in the first set, which went very long in terms of time. He had break points, he had chances.

“Early on he was a better player. He was dictating. Then, you know, I started finding my serve and my groove on the court… I just made him play. Just made him play. I felt maybe he's a bit nervous. That's what happens, the change of momentum happens very quickly on this level.”

Djokovic entered the quarter-final clash with a 7-0 ATP Head2Head record against the 23-year-old Shapovalov, but the Serbian faced three break points in an intriguing first set during which the Canadian’s big groundstrokes kept him under pressure. Shapovalov was left to rue not converting those chances, however, as the top-seeded Serbian made no mistake with a break point of his own to move 5-3 ahead before serving out for the set.

The top seed’s combination of tireless defence and penetrating attack appeared to have ground Shapovalov down after he broke for 2-1 in the second, but the Canadian hit back with some sharp returning to level at 3-3. The World No. 18 could not hold off Djokovic in a marathon ninth game, however, and the Serbian’s third break of the match proved a decisive one.

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It represented another impressive win for Djokovic in a city where he lifted the title at a previously held ATP Tour event in 2007. The 35-year-old will be feeling confident as he prepares to take on Medvedev in a heavyweight early-season clash. The Serbian leads 8-4 lead in his ATP Head2Head series with the World No. 7, with his tally including victory in a marathon three-set battle at November’s Nitto ATP Finals.

“Hopefully [it will be] another long night,” said Djokovic of his clash with Medvedev. “I don’t think there’s going to be too many short points tomorrow unless we both serve well. Normally when you play Daniil, you have to be ready to go the distance, physically, mentally, game-wise.

“He’s definitely one of the best players in the world for the past five years. He’s established himself as a Grand Slam winner and a No. 1 in the world, so he’s someone I respect a lot. We had some amazing battles over the years and I’m hoping for another good battle tomorrow.”

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